Are today's friends enemies tomorrow
"Enemies have become friends"
Sixty years ago the German Wehrmacht surrendered in Stalingrad, today's Volgograd. After six months
the Red Army had won one of the cruelest battles of World War II. The number of victims was incredible. More than 150,000 German soldiers died. Only a few German prisoners of war returned. The losses on the Soviet side were even higher. Half a million Red Armists were killed. There were 100,000 victims among the civilian population.
With a military parade on the city's main square, Volgograd honors those women and men who defeated the German armed forces in Stalingrad sixty years ago. There aren't very many veterans in the stands. Most of them have since died. The survivors are all the more happy to be present at today's celebrations. Viktor Tschumasow was one of them: "I cannot put it into words. I am so grateful to fate that I was an 18-year-old conscript in Stalingrad
could defend. "And his former comrade said:" I am very happy that I can still experience that. I am proud to meet my former comrades here. "
Young people have also gathered around the "Place of Fallen Fighters" on this sunny morning. It is important to them to honor the veterans even sixty years after the Battle of Stalingrad. A young woman says: "We boys don't understand how solemn this moment is. Only the veterans can do that. But we thank them for saving our country and for living in peace today."
At the many memorials in the city, people lay wreaths and there are minutes of silence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked the veterans and remembered the many dead in Stalingrad. The Russians would have paid a very high price for victory. But the Germans also had many deaths, said the Russian President. The high casualty figures are intended as a warning, he demanded: "This tragic price is a terrible lesson from the war. We see how this chapter of history is valued in Germany today. The respect they show the fallen Soviet soldiers. We will continue to deepen relations with all states in order to guarantee international and European security. "
Also Hans Friedrich von Ploetz, the German ambassador in
Russia, is at the celebrations in Volgograd. He is deeply impressed by the generosity with which Russians meet Germans today: "The people who have suffered so deeply - and many still suffer from it today - say: We are happy that we are today
to live in friendship with the Germans. You can really only be grateful and say from the bottom of your heart: So do we. "
Sixty years after the Battle of Stalingrad, enemies have become friends.
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